Clubs preparing for massive Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 showdowns

Pieter Malan is a man on form
Pieter Malan is a man on form

Three of the four sides involved in this year’s Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Finals Day are identical to last year, the exception being the holders CIYMS.

The competition takes place at two venues with Lisburn taking on Carrickfergus at Wallace Park and Waringstown hosting North Down at The Lawn.

The final will take place at 4pm at The Lawn. Intriguingly the first match there is a repeat of last year when we witnessed one of the best games played in this format, North Down narrowly failed to chase down 205 courtesy of a Pieter Malan century.

Malan is in tremendous form again this season with a century last weekend against Brigade again in a losing cause in the Ulster Cup.

The North Down professional has almost 800 runs already this season as his captain Marty Moreland pointed out.

“This is my favourite competition, only 20 overs in the field,” he said.

“Despite Pieter and Nathan Burns’ efforts last weekend we gave away about 40 runs in the field which ultimately was the deciding factor.

“Then when the boys were going well both were out to full tosses.

“I know we are good enough, it will be a tough game at The Lawn, last year was tremendous. I don’t read much into Waringstown losing last weekend, 10 years or so ago we were that team, expected to win every time we played but that simply is not possible.

“It’s how you react to the loss that counts, we won’t worry about that, we will concentrate on our game.

“T20 is a game that anybody can beat anybody and one over can change the game. Gavin McKenna comes into the side along with seconds captain Josh Halliday. Pieter is key, he’s a tremendous bat and simply doesn’t take chances he doesn’t need to.”

Lisburn skipper Adam Berry is looking forward to hosting his side’s game at Wallace Park.

“Great day lies ahead, we have had two weeks break, we are at home and will look to turn things around,” he said.

“We had a chat after the Instonians game, the players have responded well, there will be pivotal moments and we must take our chances.

“David Simpson is away, but Nathan Waller is back for the rest of the season, which is a massive boost, however not all our hopes rest with him and Cody Chetty.

“Carrickfergus will be strong and we need to be at our best.”

The team who perhaps have embraced this competition more than most with family evenings drawing the crowds to their games at Middle Road are Carrick and skipper Iain Parkhill is once again in relaxed mood.

“There is no pressure on us, we have a 50 seater bus lined up and win or lose we will be at Waringstown for the final,” he said.

“Anyone can win with T20, I just hope we get good pitches and the spectators get to see plenty of runs scored.

“Ashin Shetty returns but Anthony Martin is still away so we give youth a chance in the shape of Jack Burton and Francis Collins.”